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Legacy Lenses Discuss the use of older lenses, using adapters, from the Olympus OM system, Leica M and R-series, and the millions of others too.

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  #16  
Old 10th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
It wasn't much of a match for some of the lenses available when it was current. I borrowed one hoping it would match my OM 300mm but it wasn't even close. The appeal to me was the IF.
It hardly ever gets used, as long range is not my "thing". I got it very cheap a long time ago and it just sits in its case in the cabinet.

Funny you should mention the OM 300mm, it was something I thought about getting. I had a very nice 80-200 f/2.8 but that was so heavy, I sold it. The guy removes the OM mount and puts a Canon or Nikon mount on them and sells them at many times the OM price...
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Old 10th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

A couple of years after borrowing the 400mm I borrowed the Sigma 800mm f/5.6. That was a nice piece of glass, almost a match for the 600mm f/5.6 Nikkor I was using at the time.
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Old 10th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

Iíve tried a lot long focal length, manual focus lenses over the years with my E3ís, (which I no longer have btw), looking for a cheap way to get beyond the reach of the 50-200 lens. This was for motor sports, mainly at Oulton Park, and I wanted something in the range 300mm to 400mm. Here are my thoughts on a few.

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f5,6. Very bad colour fringing and terrible veiling flare if the sun is not behind you, In the right conditions, it can work well as it is decently sharp wide open, but not good for my application. Sold.

Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5. Streets ahead of the Tamron, but still shows some fringing especially wide open or on very bright highlights (e.g. sun glare off chrome trim). Sharp enough wide open, excellent at f5,6. Some great pictures with this. Kept as part of my OM Zuiko collection

TAIR-3 Photosniper lens, 300mm f4.5. Iíve had 4 of these. They are great lenses. Not quite as sharp as the OM 300mm wide open (though not much in it), but less colour fringing and equally sharp at f5.6. I still have 2. I gave one to my brother and sold the other. The only downside is the size and weight. I like the odd focusing control on these as well. I even converted the rifle stock thingy to trigger the E3 via a remote release. Lots of good shots with this lens. The simple design (itís a triplet) means the contrast is good, though a hood is still needed.

Nikon 100-300mm f5.6 zoom. A fine old zoom lens. Very useable wide open across the range. Negligible fringing. The only issue is I donít like the one-touch zoom/focus. I found it all too easy to knock the focus off.

Olympus OM Zuiko 400mm f6.3. One of the most expensive manual focus lenses that I have bought. Unfortunately, like the OM 300mm, it tends to suffer from colour fringing. It is also big so I didnít feel comfortable using it. Kept as part of my OM Zuiko collection, but not used.

Sigma 400mm f5.6 APO. This is a good lens if you can get a good copy. Performance is good at f5.6 (minimal fringing) and very good at f8. But, as I have said earlier in this thread, it is all but impossible to get one without a badly hazed inner lens group, which probably knocks a stop off its effective light transmission.

Tokina 400mm f5,6 SD. My copy is rubbish at f5,6 but very good at f8, Similar size to the Sigma, I have never used this at a race meeting, but I mention it for completeness.

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 200-500mm. Good grief, this lens is a beast. It is huge and weighs an absolute ton. Performance is actually very good, though does fall away towards 500mm (which doesnít bother me). It has some purple fringing (which is almost inevitable in these old lenses), but this is not an issue when stopped down a bit. The big limitation is veiling flare. The lens is very complicated and, if the sun gets at the front, contrast falls rapidly. I made a long cardboard hood extension and found I had to shoot with a lot of negative exposure compensation to get good results, but it can deliver.

Last year, I picked a 4/3 mount Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma). (Ironically, after I sold my E3ís off - dumb move eh?). This is an interesting comparison with the Tamron 200-500mm. The Sigma is big, but is maybe half the length of the Tamron. Optically, it blows the Tamron away as well. Veiling flare can still be an issue, despite the much more modern coatings, and it is best to keep the sun behind you (I use a cardboard hood extension on this lens as well.) I donít think the AF with the OMD EM1 is up to following anything but fairly slow cars, and MF is not so easy as the focus ring doesnít have the best feel. Still, I have some nice pictures with this lens.

This year, I am going to try something different. When the Metabones smart adapter was updated to support AF, I bought one and a Canon 100-400mm L lens (the original version, which is now affordable second hand). (I can also use this on my EOS 60D, so it is not such a daft purchase). It will be interesting to see how it compares to the Bigma on the EM1. Initial impressions are that the lens is very good even at 400mm wide open. It is a tiny bit soft, but I can live with that for motorsports as there is always a bit of motion softening at the slowish shutter speeds I like to use. Performance at f8 is superb. AF with the smart adapter is really slow if the focus is way off. It is much quicker to MF to approximately correct. Small AF adjustments seem very fast. The weather has been too crap to do any serious tests with this combo however.

I made the design to get the Canon lens when it seemed the PanaLeica 100-400mm would be near the £2000 mark. Now that it has been launched at £1350, I think going the Canon lens with Smart adapter may have been a poor decision (the combo cost £900). But I can always sell the Canon if the Panny looks really good.
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  #19  
Old 10th January 2016
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Thumbs up Re: Sigma 400mm

That is quite a comprehensive review and I really appreciate the time and effort you have put in to providing it.

Thank you
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Old 10th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

Good information in this David I am at that make your mind up stage. I have the Sigma. 135-400 & 50-500 Sigma 4/3 lenses & an Olympus 50-200 2.8 & 1.4TC may sell them and get the Panasonic 100 - 400mm as I think the new Oly just too expensive, and I think I would get more use from a zoom.
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Old 10th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

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Originally Posted by Mark_R2 View Post
Iíve tried a lot long focal length, manual focus lenses over the years with my E3ís, (which I no longer have btw), looking for a cheap way to get beyond the reach of the 50-200 lens. This was for motor sports, mainly at Oulton Park, and I wanted something in the range 300mm to 400mm. Here are my thoughts on a few.

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f5,6. Very bad colour fringing and terrible veiling flare if the sun is not behind you, In the right conditions, it can work well as it is decently sharp wide open, but not good for my application. Sold.

Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5. Streets ahead of the Tamron, but still shows some fringing especially wide open or on very bright highlights (e.g. sun glare off chrome trim). Sharp enough wide open, excellent at f5,6. Some great pictures with this. Kept as part of my OM Zuiko collection

TAIR-3 Photosniper lens, 300mm f4.5. Iíve had 4 of these. They are great lenses. Not quite as sharp as the OM 300mm wide open (though not much in it), but less colour fringing and equally sharp at f5.6. I still have 2. I gave one to my brother and sold the other. The only downside is the size and weight. I like the odd focusing control on these as well. I even converted the rifle stock thingy to trigger the E3 via a remote release. Lots of good shots with this lens. The simple design (itís a triplet) means the contrast is good, though a hood is still needed.

Nikon 100-300mm f5.6 zoom. A fine old zoom lens. Very useable wide open across the range. Negligible fringing. The only issue is I donít like the one-touch zoom/focus. I found it all too easy to knock the focus off.

Olympus OM Zuiko 400mm f6.3. One of the most expensive manual focus lenses that I have bought. Unfortunately, like the OM 300mm, it tends to suffer from colour fringing. It is also big so I didnít feel comfortable using it. Kept as part of my OM Zuiko collection, but not used.

Sigma 400mm f5.6 APO. This is a good lens if you can get a good copy. Performance is good at f5.6 (minimal fringing) and very good at f8. But, as I have said earlier in this thread, it is all but impossible to get one without a badly hazed inner lens group, which probably knocks a stop off its effective light transmission.

Tokina 400mm f5,6 SD. My copy is rubbish at f5,6 but very good at f8, Similar size to the Sigma, I have never used this at a race meeting, but I mention it for completeness.

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 200-500mm. Good grief, this lens is a beast. It is huge and weighs an absolute ton. Performance is actually very good, though does fall away towards 500mm (which doesnít bother me). It has some purple fringing (which is almost inevitable in these old lenses), but this is not an issue when stopped down a bit. The big limitation is veiling flare. The lens is very complicated and, if the sun gets at the front, contrast falls rapidly. I made a long cardboard hood extension and found I had to shoot with a lot of negative exposure compensation to get good results, but it can deliver.

Last year, I picked a 4/3 mount Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma). (Ironically, after I sold my E3ís off - dumb move eh?). This is an interesting comparison with the Tamron 200-500mm. The Sigma is big, but is maybe half the length of the Tamron. Optically, it blows the Tamron away as well. Veiling flare can still be an issue, despite the much more modern coatings, and it is best to keep the sun behind you (I use a cardboard hood extension on this lens as well.) I donít think the AF with the OMD EM1 is up to following anything but fairly slow cars, and MF is not so easy as the focus ring doesnít have the best feel. Still, I have some nice pictures with this lens.

This year, I am going to try something different. When the Metabones smart adapter was updated to support AF, I bought one and a Canon 100-400mm L lens (the original version, which is now affordable second hand). (I can also use this on my EOS 60D, so it is not such a daft purchase). It will be interesting to see how it compares to the Bigma on the EM1. Initial impressions are that the lens is very good even at 400mm wide open. It is a tiny bit soft, but I can live with that for motorsports as there is always a bit of motion softening at the slowish shutter speeds I like to use. Performance at f8 is superb. AF with the smart adapter is really slow if the focus is way off. It is much quicker to MF to approximately correct. Small AF adjustments seem very fast. The weather has been too crap to do any serious tests with this combo however.

I made the design to get the Canon lens when it seemed the PanaLeica 100-400mm would be near the £2000 mark. Now that it has been launched at £1350, I think going the Canon lens with Smart adapter may have been a poor decision (the combo cost £900). But I can always sell the Canon if the Panny looks really good.
Good review and thanks
Kind regards mike
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Old 11th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

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Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post


Would it make any difference, if I opened the window.
Sounds like a quote from ' Bridge of Spies' (Mark Rylance) you'll only know if you've seen the film !!

Peter
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Old 11th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

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Originally Posted by Wee man View Post
I am at that make your mind up stage. I have the Sigma. 135-400 & 50-500 Sigma 4/3 lenses & an Olympus 50-200 2.8 & 1.4TC may sell them and get the Panasonic 100 - 400mm as I think the new Oly just too expensive, and I think I would get more use from a zoom.
This is a difficult choice to make. Eventually, I decided to go the native m4/3 route and have sold most of my 4/3 lenses now. The final transition has been the telephoto end. This is how I came to that decision.

The 50-200 SWD on the E3 was my mainstay for motorsports for years. The launch of EM1 was the Ďgame changerí for me as it had an EVF that was fast enough to follow the cars (which the EM5 didnít). With the EM1 EVF, I donít miss the optical VF at all. I first tried the EM1 with the 75-300mm m.Zuiko lens at Oulton Park at the start of the 2014 motor racing season, and I was so impressed that I didnít use the E3 again! However, though the 75-300mm is good for what it is, it was not perfect due to 1) slow maximum aperture; 2) weak performance at 300mm unless stopped below f8; 3) lack of tripod collar (which makes the combo awkward to balance on a monopod); 4) its tendency to spontaneously defocus for no apparent reason (which could be a fault in my copy of course).

At the start of the 2015 season, we had the V2 firmware for the EM! with improved AF for old 4/3 lenses. I tried the EM1 with the 50-200 lens and was initially very impressed. C-AF was actually able to keep up with cars. But then I started to find the limitations. The PD AF in the EM1 only works when there is vertical detail in the object. Try to focus on a set of horizontal lines and the AF just couldnít lock on. This was a major pain as I often use the lens pre-focussed on the apex of a corner when I know i am going to take the picture with the car on the apex. This takes AF out of the equation and allows me to concentrate on panning with the car smoothly and keeping it centred in the frame. Normally, i would focus on the serrated kerbs at the corner apex, which are painted alternately white and day-glow red and form clear horizontal lines. A pretty easy target to lock onto you would think (and it is for the m.Zuiko 75-300). But the EM1 and 50-200 simply could not focus on them at all. Not ever. This meant I had to manually focus on the kerbs, which is slow and inconvenient.

Eventually, i decided I would go for the 40-150 Pro lens with TC to replace the 50-200. This was a big investment of course and one that I was reluctant to make. To spend that money on a lens with which I would need to use the TC (and thus degrade the performance, even if only slightly) seemed a poor deal. But now Iíve done it, i donít regret it at all. The 40-150 is a superb lens even with the TC and even at 210mm and f4. The AF is also impressive. The only let down with the C-AF is that it can be slow to lock-on to the moving car. Once locked on it is very good, but the slight delay in locking on car means shots are missed.

Anyway, it is clear to me that native m4/3 lenses will always work better for AF than adapted 4/3 ones and any current camera. (Maybe an EM-1 Mk2 will have cross-type PD-AF and fix this issue). When AF is critical, a native lens is the way to go.

If the Panasonic 100-400mm lives up to its promise (in optical and AF performance) I shall certainly be selling off my Bigma, which is only there to fill in the 300-400mm gap. The relatively slow aperture of the Panasonic will not be a problem as long as the lens is fully useable wide open.

I agree that the Oly 300mm f4 is just too expensive. My guess is a lot of the cost is in the new optical IS. This is of no use to me since I never use IS for motorsports since I find following a real car through a chicane involves a complex panning action that confuses IS and makes the results unpredictable.

Thanks to everyone who showed their appreciation of my earlier ramblings. I am more than happy to contribute to the community knowledge base.

Mark
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Old 14th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

Hard to tell, but the image of the swan suggests that you may have focused just behind it.

Harold
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Old 14th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

I use almost exclusively legacy film, manual focus lenses on my m4/3 bodies.

This is how I test them. I use a lens test chart but any suitable subject will do.

I attach the camera and lens combination to a tripod and check that the subject is parallel to the sensor plane. I select low ISO.

I focus, using digital zoom to get it exact but only for this purpose, switching it off for the exposure.

*I switch off the IS and set 15 seconds (8 was not enough) anti-shock (delay). I press the release button then leave the room. I repeat this for each exposure keeping stand exposure for a give aperture (several tested).

I repeat this for any other lens(es) being considered.

This may seem excessive but bitter experience show it to be the minimum required.

If you have no tripod a bean bag or cushion could be used.

* This paragraph can be omitted if you have flash.

Harold
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Old 14th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

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<snip>
*I switch off the IS and set 15 seconds (8 was not enough) anti-shock (delay). I press the release button then leave the room.<snip>

Harold
I never cease to be amazed at just how much movement & vibration there is in our houses. It's not too bad on the solid ground floor, but the 1st & 2nd floors it can be quite noticeable.

In my sons timber framed house, everything is on the move.
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Old 14th January 2016
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Re: Sigma 400mm

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I never cease to be amazed at just how much movement & vibration there is in our houses. It's not too bad on the solid ground floor, but the 1st & 2nd floors it can be quite noticeable.

In my sons timber framed house, everything is on the move.
My precautions were found to be necessary on a decking floor nailed onto concrete in our conservatory. Even so, I suspected that moving my weight away from the camera and tripod might have altered the fine focus slightly. The lenses being tested were for macro, where such tiny differences were important in making meaningful comparisons.

Using flash (which I did not have then) would have eliminated this possibility.

Harold
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